In a response to a growing number of claims for lost baggage compounded by recent security restrictions, the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) is urging travellers to check their insurance to ensure any valuables checked into the hold of a plane are properly covered.
This highlights the problem that many travel insurance policies do not cover valuables which are checked into the hold, and will often stipulate that you keep them under your control in your hand luggage or about your person. However, following stricter hand luggage restrictions more passengers are checking in items such as foreign currency and portable computers.
In an effort to clarify the issue, BIBA has issued a list of items which may not be covered by travel insurance when packed into a suitcase which is then checked into the hold:
- Sunglasses and spectacles
- Photographic equipment including accessories
- Computer, radio or audio equipment (including CDs)
- Electronic equipment including electronic games, mp3 players, computers and mobile phones
- Telescopes and binoculars
- Leather, suede or fur clothing
- Personal jewellery, items of gold or silver, or watches
- Video equipment including DVDs
- Passports, money and credit cards
- Stamp, coin or medal collections
- Works of art
- Hearing aids
- Sports, leisure and musical equipment
It's important to check your own policy as cover terms and consitions can vary significantly.
BIBA expects many consumers to be surprised by this list and may be unaware that, even with travel insurance in place, they could be putting their personal belongings at risk.
Technical Services Manager at BIBA, Graeme Trudgill, commented: "With claims for missing baggage on the increase and restrictions on hand luggage, travellers need to be aware that many items are not insured if placed in your checked luggage. We have seen an example of a traveller who was unable to claim for a camera when it was stolen from her checked luggage.
"The good news is that some household policies may offer wider cover than travel policies. Valuables are often more appropriately protected under the personal possessions section of a household policy (although this is an optional extra that many travellers do not buy) which would cover them for all risks cover around the world.
"However, no two policies are the same and some cheaper household policies may not cover valuables in the hold either, particularly jewellery. The best advice we can offer consumers is to ask your broker to ensure that either your household policy or your travel policy provides appropriate cover for you."
BIBA advises consumers to contact a specialist insurance broker to find the most suitable policy for their needs and budget. A database of brokers can be found at http://www.biba.org.uk/ConsumerHome.aspx.